Here is another alternative for the vanilla cupcake recipe, the chocolate cream filling really puts these over the top!
Vanilla Bean Cupcakes
1 c. butter, softened
2 c. sugar
2 Madagascar vanilla beans, scraped using seeds only
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 3/4 c. cake flour, NOT self rising
1 1/4 c. unbleached all purpose flour
1 Tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/3 c. buttermilk
Preheat oven to 325. Line 2 cupcake pans with liners.
Cream butter, sugar, and vanilla beans together for 3 minutes, until very light. Add eggs, on at a time, scraping down bowl after each addition. Add vanilla extract. In a separate bowl whisk together flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Make sure when you measure your flour that you gently stir it first to aerate it, and then spoon it into the measuring cups and level to prevent adding too much flour and having a dry cupcake. Add half of flour mixture to batter and mix, add buttermilk and mix, add the the remaining flour just until combined, do not overmix.
Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake for 15-18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool.
Chocolate Cream Filling
2 Tbs hot water
7 oz container marshmallow creme
1/2 c. shortening
6 Tbs. powdered sugar
5 Tbs. Dutch processed cocoa
1 tsp vanilla
Beat together all ingredients until combined. Use a pastry bag with a large star tip to fill cupcakes. I cut an X in the middle of each cupcake with a sharp knife, then I inserted the tip of the bag into the middle of the cupcake. Fill each cupcake with about a tablespoon of chocolate cream.
Vanilla Bean Frosting
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. butter, softened
2 vanilla beans, scraped using seeds only
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
about 6 cups powdered sugar
enough milk to reach correct consistency
Beat together cream cheese, butter, and vanilla beans until creamy. Add vanilla extract and powdered sugar. Add enough milk to reach correct consistency, I usually end up adding about 1/2 cup. I also used the large star tip to frost these.